Healthy Stride, Wealthy Mind
Technology, the mastermind behind all human activities in this century, it has been observed that the health and well-being sector has also been largely influenced. Technology has been dramatically transforming the health and well-being sector, resulting in fast-paced innovations and advancements, As startup ecosystem being the primary reason behind it. While there have been numerous revolutionary changes in the ‘health and well-being’ technology over the few years, there has also been a major spike, in the role of startup play within the healthcare system. These emerging organizations are ambitious, flexible and lean; continuously striving to shape the industry on a global scale moving forward. The health and well-being sector has rapidly evolved in India from its nascent unstructured beginning in early 1990s, to a comprehensive ecosystem today. This ecosystem comprises consumers, providers, adjacent industries, facilitators and the government.
While the consumers mainly comprise young population with increasing income levels and an upsurging need to look good, and feel good, which has led these young consumers to seek wellness solution to meet lifestyle challenges, the Providers offers wellness services and products to meet the hygiene, curative and enhancement needs of the consumers. The Adjacent industries, such as healthcare, media, retail, gaming, hospitality, and education capitalize on growth of the wellness sector to generate additional revenue streams, leveraging existing competencies and offer a wider array of services products to the customer. The facilitators include employers, insurance companies, and schools, who are likely to play a key role in encouraging and inculcating pro-wellness habits among consumers going forward. The last participant, the Government wears multiple has multiple roles as a provider, facilitator, enabler and regulator in the industry.
Startups in Health & Well-being Sector-A Demand of Time
A widening gap between the needs of the care-seekers and traditional healthcare services has been observed, as a major challenge. It adds to the unaffordable situation and inaccessibility of healthcare. All the factors have collectively contributed towards the growing healthcare startup ecosystem and motivated them to innovate. Further these startups not only help the patients gain access to quality healthcare but also create job opportunities. The sector will create 40 million jobs by 2030, according to Invest India. With a conducive environment available for startups in India, they will continue to generate more employment in India. And therefore, will solve several issues related to the healthcare sector in India.
Digital Healthcare, Indian Government & the Crucial Stakeholders
Digital Healthcare is a key focus of the Government's plan for Digital India. Even the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has unveiled several initiatives to deliver services which is affordable for all citizen, the services should have better quality when compared to the past and should provide better care and help in relieving the torment of disease. The Government of India has taken some major initiatives regarding the Digital Healthcare, the National Health Policy, Ayushman Bharat Program 2018 that address holistic healthcare delivery. The Government has also allocated 1600 crore for five years towards the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission to propel India's digital healthcare.
The digitization of India's Healthcare will inevitably enhance the practice of the doctors, improve the patient-doctor communication and improve patient outcomes. Besides the two evident stakeholders, the technological changes in the Indian Healthcare system can also be beneficial for the other members of the ecosystem. The Indian Government is planning to setup a National Health Stack where all significant stakeholders such as hospitals, insurers, TPAs, government and HealthTech startups can come under one roof. These diverse stakeholders can facilitate the collection of comprehensive healthcare data electronically.
The Virtual Timeline - Startups, Innovation & Pandemic
Digital Healthcare has brought Telemedicine and virtual care models into existence, which have proved to be lifesaving at the peak of a mortal pandemic. The pandemic was devastating but it has brought a few good things along, most significant would be the opportunities it brought for HealthTech startups. The lens with which the HealthTech startups are now looking into telehealth is crystal clear. The aim is to provide better services. From benefitting isolated patients with cloud based technologies to patients with chronic illness, who fear visiting hospital for routine check-up, these healthcare startups are accelerating the innovations.
Solutions such as AR, Chatbots, and voice interfaces are encouraging the much needed healthcare for patients and providers. The pandemic has revealed various gaps within the healthcare infrastructure that has led to more emphasis on the adopting ‘cloud services’ and ‘new-age technology’. According to the reports, 80 percent of doctors in North India have adopted telemedicine, 50 percent in Southern and Western regions, and 35 percent in East India, during the pandemic. AI and robotics can also improve accuracy, enable precise diagnosis and remote treatment.
The Renaissance of Healthcare Sector of India-Digital Healthcare
Moving forward, the Indian healthcare system is projected to witness a massive spike in demand as well as supply of digital healthcare services. An ecosystem of AI, robotics, telemedicine, electronic health records, IoT, and digital therapeutics among others will strengthen the country's healthcare backbone to overcome challenges in the monitoring of patients, healthcare accessibility, affordability, supplychain, claims settlement, and quality of care. The vast healthcare market in India provides ample opportunities for innovative startups. However, if the given opportunities are to be tapped efficiently, the challenges of payment, logistics and infrastructure need to be handled prudently. Given the opportunities, the healthcare startups will become an integral part of the economy.